The air wafting out of a Crabtree & Evelyn store transports me to my grandmother’s bathroom, all monogrammed hand towels and tall shell-filled glass jars. The smell of fresh baked bread, the house I grew up in on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And the scent of Drakkar Noir lingering in a hallway, straight back to 7th grade and boys who wore Metallica t-shirts… ahem.
The connection of smell and memory is well documented but taste can have exactly the same effect on me, spinning my mind into another time or place with a single bite.
I came across this recipe when combing through my assigned blog, Our Table for Seven, for this month’s Secret Recipe Club post. Erin’s site is simply packed with quick, family-friendly meals she cooks for her husband and five children, and the recipe index kept me hungry for hours!
Not surprisingly the first thing that caught my eye was breakfast, Baked Cinnamon Swirl French Toast to be exact, but I posted a french toast recipe only a week ago and figured that while I could eat variations on the theme pretty much every day of the week, others may want a bit more variety…
Always a fan of making over-processed-packaged-blerg into unprocessed-healthy-food, Erin’s Homemade Fruit & Cereal Nutri-Grain bars seemed just the ticket.
I of course altered the recipe further again, replacing the whole wheat flour with spelt and the sugar with rice syrup amongst other things, so you can imagine my surprise when one bite sent me straight into the mid-90’s and the middle of field-hockey practice. It was uncanny, the flavour and texture I remembered, but full of goodness instead of a refined-oil-chemical-aftertaste. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Oh and just because I can, a parting public service announcement… if you are a man over the age of 14, please refrain from wearing Drakkar Noir, the 90’s wants it’s cologne back. These bars however are here to stay.
Fruit & Oat Bars
These bars make a perfect mid-morning treat with a cup of tea, or afternoon lunch box snack for the whole family.
Adapted from Our Table for Seven
Makes 14-16 bars
- 1 c rolled oats
- 1 1/4 c whole spelt flour [or GF flour]
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 c rice syrup
- 1/4 c cold-pressed oil, I used macadamia but coconut would work too
- 1/4 c apple juice
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
- approx 3/4 c berry compote, from 2 c frozen mixed berries
- 2 Tbsp oats, extra
Simmer berries with a scant Tbsp water for 25-30 mins, stirring occasionally until thickened. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 180C [350F]. Grease a 9×13 inch [23×33 cm] pan, line base and two long sides with a strip of baking [parchment] paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. Form a well in the centre and add all wet ingredients. Whisk with a fork until well mixed.
Pour just over half the batter [1 1/4 c if you want to be precise] into the prepared pan, smooth into a thin layer using an offset spatula. Dollop over cooled berry compote, smooth gently to create a thin layer. Dollop over remaining batter, smooth very carefully so batter covers filling as much as possible. Sprinkle with extra oats.
Bake 20-25 mins until firm and golden brown around edges. Cool in pan for 10 mins, run a knife around unlined sides and turn out to cool completely on a rack.
When cool, slice off edges and cut width-wise into 1 1/2 or 2 inch strips – you’ll get 7 or 8. Cut length-wise once down the centre to create bars.
- Filling: cut any large berries like strawberries into small pieces before cooking. I used a mix of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries but these can be substituted with pretty much any other fruit such as plums, peaches or even apples.
- Pan: you could make these in a 8×8 inch square pan if you want thicker bars, you’ll probably need to increase the baking time to approx 30 or 35 mins.
diary free // refined-sugar free // gluten free if using GF flour
Yum, these look delicious and I actually have all the ingredients already! Great pick for SRC.
April @ Angel's Homestead says
Your fruit bars turned out delicious looking, and would make a great snack. Happy SRC Reveal Day! 🙂
Lovely! These look super tasty! 🙂 I’m visiting from Group A! 🙂
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
JJ these look wonderful and so healthy. The perfect winter (or summer – any time really) snack!
Fabulous photos and am amazing recipe! Such an inspiring SRC pick, Karen
Jane @ Shady Baker says
These look totally delicious JJ, I love your photos too. Drakkar Noir…wow that brings back some memories 🙂
I know, right?! 😀
I love the idea of these fruit filled bars of wholewheat goodness. Gorgeous colours in the berry compote.
Lindsay (life and kitchen) says
My daughter would love these! I need to make them this weekend!
Oh I hope you do!
Rebekah @ Making Miracles says
Those look absolutely TERRIFIC!! I need to try those out in my kitchen! 🙂 Great SRC selection – happy reveal day!
Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says
I love bars for quick breakfasts or snacks, saving this recipe.
These look perfect for our hike we are going on later today. Love it!
Erin @ Table for 7 says
Yay! What a great choice 🙂
They look delicious..so lovely pictures! We love them at our house..so glad they were a hit!
Thanks again for the great recipe inspiration Erin
Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy says
Yum! I want to make these for work! I love things that evoke a time, person or place. I laughed out load at the Drakker Noir bit – when I was a teen, the fragrance for dudes in my world was Versace Blue Jeans!
Heehee so funny how those things never age in our mind ;D
these look really good!
Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies says
I love making foods we typically buy at home! That way I know all the ingredients and they are usually healthier too! These bars look great…great SRC pick!
wow these sound incredible and are perfectly healthy for bikini bod summer time!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I love homemade bars like this – they make a perfect afternoon snack!
Sonia Life Love Hiccups says
Ok So this looks a little ( A freaking LOT) moorish. I am keen to give this one a try for the kids. Beautiful styling too hun xx
Cheers Sonia – yeah a little too more-ish truthfully 😉
What a delightful treat. Great SRC pick!
Helen (Grab Your Fork) says
These look and sound delicious! And so healthy you could totally eat three or four, right? lol
I of course didn’t do that (ahem…)
Kelsey @ K&K Test Kitchen says
Love these! I never actually liked Nutri-Grain bars, but I could totally get down with these.
Yum. Great idea and these look really great
brenda hayes says
Humm, a pan appeared on my counter and we all ate more than our share…none of that ‘one bar’ stuff. Love to hear the memories!!
Late to comment due to frantic life 😉
Loved your write up and the recipe, of course! I am pinning this for a future adventure in the kitchen, I bet they are absolutely wonderful and beat the store-bought versions by a looong shot
by miles! I plan on trying out a different fruit combo next time too 🙂